SCM is delighted to welcome members of York Christian Focus to the movement, as one of our newest affiliated student groups. The group, based at the University of York, is an ecumenical fellowship that meets every week for discussion and conversation about faith.
We speak with Jack Woodruff, the group President this year, about their vision for student Christianity, and what makes the group tick.
1. Hello York CF – welcome to the SCM community! Could you tell us a little about the group, and what your aims for the year are?
We are a group of Christians who meet up every Wednesday to discuss different aspects of our faith together. Those of any faith are more than welcome to come discuss Christianity too. Our aims for this year is to fully establish the group within the university so we can reach out to more people and grow as a group and do lots of cool things.
2. What is it about SCM’s values or ethos that particularly resonate with members of York CF?
The celebration of diversity. Our group is very diverse and one of our key aspects is that we are inclusive to all and open-minded. Being ecumenical is also very important to us. We want to create a community where people can be diverse and open-minded.
3. What has the group been up to so far this academic year?
So far we have discussed the Christian viewpoint on alcohol, taken a trip to Evensong at York Minster as a few of us had never been. We have also had a session to remember the Holocaust. We have plans to go on a social to a student night at an indoor kids play area in Hull, where we’ll be exploring the theme of releasing your inner child. Future topics to discuss include Christian privilege and how relevant the Bible is to today's society.
4. Could you tell us about what the group does outside the walls of the university?
Outside of the university we are currently looking to help develop the SCM network in York by promoting SCM to our members. There is an SCM York Network meet up soon.
5. We’ve heard that your group ascribes to a set of ‘rules’, including the rule that no meeting should go without biscuits. Could you tell us a bit more about some of these rules, what they are there for, and any other particularly important ones for you?
We have a rule that all meetings must start with the name game which involves everyone saying their name, course they do and a fun question from my list. By fun question it can be anything between 'what animal would you be and why?' to some theological questions I have been pondering. And yes, we also have a rule that squash and biscuits must be consumed at meetings – this is always important. But the most important rule is simple: 'Be nice to people because that is a nice thing to do'. To me, that sums up Christian Focus in that we are a warm, welcoming community that is kind to all.
6. Does your group have a go-to favourite song or hymn? Which is it and why?
Shine Jesus Shine always causes some controversy in the group - some members love it and some…not so much. As for deciding a favourite hymn for the group I feel that would involve some lengthy discussions.
7. What are your plans for the rest of this academic year?
We plan to develop more as a group. I briefly mentioned this above, but have further debates to help us explore our faith and have fun. We will be attending the SCM Day in Durham in late April as well (more details of that on the SCM website soon).
8. Finally, how can we keep up-to-date on all the goings-on from the group this year?